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1. US20200239266 - APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING TETHERED ELECTRICAL POWER TO AUTONOMOUS UNMANNED GROUND VEHICLES

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

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Claims

1. A method of operating an autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) configured with a robotic arm and an electrical power cord having an electrical plug at an end thereof and configured to be wound around a motor-driven electrical cord reel, the method comprising:
while a location of an electrical outlet receptacle is within a work envelope of the robotic arm, controlling the robotic arm to grasp the electrical plug and then inserting the electrical plug into an electrical outlet; and
while the electrical plug is being grasped by the robotic arm, controlling a length of the electrical power cord which is dispensed from the motor-driven electrical cord reel and a rate of dispensing the electrical power cord using kinematic data stored in one or more memory devices of the A-UGV,
wherein one or more processors of the A-UGV employ the kinematic data to actuate one or more motors of the A-UGV which actuate the motor-driven electrical cord reel during a discrete computing event interval.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the robotic arm includes one or more motors which employ the kinematic data to control movement of the robotic arm.
3. A method of operating an A-UGV configured with an electrical power cord having an electrical plug at an end thereof and configured to be wound around a motor-driven electrical cord reel, the method comprising:
while the electrical plug is connected to an electrical receptacle, controlling the A-UGV to move about; and
while the electrical plug is connected to the electrical receptacle and the A-UGV moves about, controlling a length of the electrical power cord which is dispensed from the motor-driven electrical cord reel, and a rate of dispensing the electrical power cord, using odometric data stored in one or more memory devices of the A-UGV,
wherein the odometric data is configured to cause one or more processors of the A-UGV to actuate one or more motors of the A-UGV which actuate the motor-driven electrical cord reel during a discrete computing event interval.
4. A method of operating an A-UGV configured with an electrical power cord having an electrical plug at an end thereof and configured to be wound around a motor-driven electrical cord reel, the method comprising:
while the electrical plug is connected to an electrical receptacle, controlling the A-UGV to move about; and
while the electrical plug is connected to the electrical receptacle and the A-UGV moves about, controlling a length of the electrical power cord which is dispensed from the motor-driven electrical cord reel and a rate of dispensing the electrical power cord using navigation instructions stored in one or more memory devices of the A-UGV,
wherein the navigation instructions are configured to cause one or more processors of the A-UGV to actuate one or more motors of the A-UGV which actuate the motor-driven electrical cord reel during a discrete computing event interval.
5. An autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) comprising:
an electrical slip ring;
a motor-driven cable reel disposed axially with respect to the electrical slip ring and configured to dispense and retract an electrical power cord, wherein the electrical power cord has a first end and a second end, and further has at the first end thereof an electrical plug for connection to an electrical socket supplying AC power, and wherein the second end thereof is electrically connected in series to the electrical slip ring;
at least one sensor configured to produce sensor data in response to changes in a rotational position of the motor-driven cable reel;
at least one processor, configured to receive the sensor data indicative of the rotational position of the motor-driven cable reel as feedback for commands sent by the at least one processor to the motor-driven cable reel so as to control a length of the electrical power cord which is dispensed by the motor-driven cable reel;
at least one guide roller, the guide roller disposed such that it is axially parallel to the motor-driven cable reel, wherein the guide roller is configured to exert a force that presses an outermost layer of the electrical power cord against either an adjacent layer of the electrical power cord which is wound around the motor-driven cable reel, or against the motor-driven cable reel itself; and
a level wind assembly, wherein the level wind assembly is configured to provide transverse movement along an axis parallel to an axis of the cable reel, for controlling the winding, and unwinding, of the electrical power cord around the cable reel.
6. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising a limit switch subassembly comprising at least one sensor configured to produce sensor data indicative of a proximity of at least one feature of the electrical power cord to the at least one sensor.
7. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 6, wherein the sensor is a Hall-effect sensor, and further comprising a magnet secured to the first end of the electrical power cord.
8. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising an emergency stop button configured to sever an AC electrical connection that is active when the electrical plug located at the first end of the electrical power cord is connected to a live AC electrical outlet and the emergency stop button is manually pressed.
9. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising an emergency stop button configured to sever an AC electrical connection that is active when the electrical plug located at the first end of the electrical power cord is connected to a live AC electrical outlet, and to sever a DC electrical connection that powers the motor-driven cable reel, when the emergency stop button is manually pressed.
10. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising a circuit breaker configured to sever an AC electrical connection that is active when the electrical plug located at the first end of the electrical power cord is connected to a live AC electrical outlet and the current flowing though the AC electrical connection exceeds a defined limit.
11. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising a shell and at least one vibration dampening mount disposed adjacent to the shell.
12. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising at least one tool configured to receive AC electrical power from the electrical power cord and to operate in response to the AC electrical power.
13. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, further comprising:
at least one AC/DC converter configured to receive AC electrical power from the electrical power cord and in response thereto to produce DC electrical power; and
at least one DC motor configured to receive the DC electrical power from the AC/DC converter and to operate in response to the DC electrical power.
14. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, wherein the motor-driven cable reel includes at least one hollow shaft, wherein the hollow shaft has a first end and a second end, wherein one or more electrical leads pass through the hollow shaft.
15. The autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) of claim 5, wherein the level wind assembly further comprises a diamond screw having a first end and a second end, wherein at least one end of the diamond screw is partially bored out.